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I read my local newspaper every day. I am part of a dying breed – I get the paper delivered seven days a week to my front door.  Can I get a show of hands?  How many still get the paper delivered?  I thought so.

I live in a relatively smaller city where the paper is a thread that runs through all of our local lives.  But like most newspapers it’s wheezing and struggling to hang on to it’s once prominent place as the final arbiter of good taste, political endorsements and what really constitutes news.

My son had a carrier route for the afternoon version while he was in elementary school.  Great money for a kid and the Christmas tips were pretty ok.  The Sunday deliveries were a family chore that I dreaded but we managed through dark winter mornings, snow, rain and cold.  Sort of like the US Postal Service.  Eventually high school and after school activities (cross country and track) took him out of the paper delivery game.  I was his substitute carrier.  It was a pretty nice gig walking the neighborhood, chatting with neighbors and saying hello to the friendly dogs on the route.

The afternoon paper finally gave up the ghost and had it’s own obituary.

Both kids read the paper before they left for school.  I think it gave them a sense of what was going on in the world and their town.  They both still have a strong sense of being tuned in to current events.  My daughter now gets the Boston Globe delivered to her i pad or whatever mobile device she’s currently using.

I know this is a long way to go to get the title.  Thanks for being patient.  Here it is.

I read the obits every day just as I read the editorials, the local news, and sports.  Sometimes in reading the obituaries I’ll come across a the name of a person I know. Small town.  Their whole lives are captured in two or three paragraphs along with a small picture.

The obits can be a wake up call especially when the deceased has left us long before his or her time should have been up.  When a person passes at the age of 97 or so I like to think that they have led a long, happy and productive life.  I know that’s not always the case but I’d like to think that was so.  It’s tough to read of a life that ends way too early due to something like cancer.  Obituaries for kids are difficult.

One gentleman was a veteran of WWII, Korea and Vietnam. A woman was a nurse in WWII and rose to the rank of Major before she retired.  One guy was a farmer for 60 years.  On and on.  Just like life and death.

The obituaries summarize your life in a few lines.  You don’t have a say in what the obit says (unless you write it yourself).  A family member tries to recall what was important to you, the good things you accomplished and how they think you would like to be remembered.

The other day this one appeared which triggered this post.  In summary:

He was 75 years old (way too young in my opinion), liked NASCAR, followed the Philadelphia Flyers and was a fan of The Three Stooges.

Yeah, the Three Stooges.  Nice going to whoever added that to their loved one’s obit.

For my friends who are running the Philadelphia Marathon in November there is a building somewhere in the South Street area along the route where a mural featuring a picture of Larry Fine of Moe, Larry and Curly fame.  Look for it, I think it will be on your left.

And be sure to tip your newspaper carrier.